Thesis: Terrorism Hamas Is a Radical Islamic

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Terrorism

HAMAS

Hamas is a radical Islamic fundamentalist organization which became active in the early stages of the intifada. It operates primarily in the Gaza District but also has some presence in Judea and Samaria. It was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas has been known to have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel. It is loosely structured and has some members that work undercover and others that work openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute party line information (Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), 2008)

Hamas is the largest and most influential Palestinian militant movement. In January of 2006, the group won the Palestinian Authority's (PA) general legislative elections, defeating Fatah, the party of the Palestinian president. Since obtaining power, Hamas has continued to refuse to recognize the state of Israel. The group operates as a terrorist wing, carrying out suicide bombings and attacks using mortars and short-range rockets. Hamas has launched attacks both in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and inside what used to be the boundaries of Israel (Hamas, 2009).

The Hamas Charter which was written in 1988 defines The Slogan of the Hamaswhich and says that jihad, or holy war will "becomes an individual duty binding on every Muslim man and woman; a woman must go out and fight the enemy even without her husband's authorization, and a slave without his masters' permission" (Hamas, n.d.).

In addition to its military wing, Hamas devotes much of its estimated $70 million annual budget to a widespread social services network. They fund schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. Approximately 90% of its work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities. The Palestinian Authority often fails to provide these services. Hamas's efforts in this area along with its reputation for being honest is seen as why they had the popularity to defeat Fatah in the PA's recent elections (Hamas, 2009).

In February of 2007, Hamas, Fateh and other factions entered a unity government in a deal that was put together by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It formed the Executive Force over the protests of the Fatah and Palestinian Authority. The Executive force was a combination internal police force, political force to be used against Hamas opponents and terrorist group. In June of 2007, Hamas ousted Fatah forces from Gaza in a bloody coup, throwing Fatah members off the roofs of buildings after shooting them in the knees. At least one Fatah member was sliced into steaks that were sent to his family. Since Gaza had been totally evacuated by Israel in the unilateral disengagement of 2005, Hamas currently rules Gaza as a de facto state government. It has used Gaza as a base for launching rocket attacks against Israel. On June 19, 2008, Israel and Hamas concluded a "lull" or Tahdiya agreement that was brokered by Egypt. Hamas declared that this truce was for a period of six months. Rocket fire from Gaza was reduced but not stopped. On December 18, 2008, Hamas declared that they would not renew the truce. Thereafter, Hamas and associated organizations directed a rain of rocket and mortar fire at Israeli towns and cities, reaching as far as 45 KM away with Grad rockets that had been smuggled in during the lull period (Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement, n.d.).

On December 27, 2008, Israeli air force launched attacks on the Gaza Strip. The attacks had killed about 300 people and injured about 650, as of December 29, 2008. Most people killed were Hamas members. On January 2, 2009, Israel confirmed that it had destroyed the homes of at least 12 Hamas operatives, including that of military leader Nizar Rayan. As well as a mosque was used to store weapons. On January 16, 2009, Hamas's political leaders rejected Israel's conditions for a cease fire. After three weeks of fighting in the Gaza strip, they said that they would only accept the agreement if Israel agreed to withdraw from Gaza and open a blockade that existed at the border crossings within the territory (Hamas- Mahalo, (n.d.).

Hamas advocates and engages in violence and terror in order to destroy the state of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state. Its strong hatred of Jews and Judaism is deeply rooted in the anti-Semitic writings of Muslim Brotherhood theologians. In August 1988, Hamas issued its Covenant that laid its ideological principles and goals. Full of anti-Semitism they echo the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion and charge Jews with a conspiracy to gain control of the world. Hamas has the view that Islamic principles are forbid in area known as Palestine, and that the Jewish people have no legitimate connection to the land of Israel. They also claim that Yasir Arafat is a traitor to the Islamic Palestinian cause (Hamas Fact Sheet, 2006). Hamas publishes a biweekly children's magazine which regularly characterizes Jews as murderers of the prophets. It often encourages parents to encourage their sons to kill Jews. Each issue features a story that presents the heroic deeds of those who have died in suicide bombings or who have been killed in other crimes trying to carry out the Hamas beliefs.

Leadership of Hamas includes the following people: Khaled Mishal- who was born in the West Bank in 1956 and studied physics at Kuwait University. It was there that he led the Islamic Palestinian student movement. Mishal is considered the leader of Hamas and resides in Damascus, Syria, where he has lived in exile since the early 1990's. Musa Abu-Marzuq, who was born in Gaza in 195, received a doctorate in industrial engineering in the United States. He serves as Hamas' deputy political leader, and is based in Syria. He lived in the United States and Jordan for many years and was expelled from both countries. Mahmoud al-Zahar was born in Gaza, Zahar. He studied medicine in Cairo and is a founding member of Hamas. Aziz Dweik is an academic by profession and was born in 1948 and has a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Dweik was deported to Lebanon in 1992 and served as spokesperson of the deportees. Dweik is slated to become Speaker of parliament. Sheik Hassan Yousef is in his fifties and has been the head of Hamas in the West Bank since 2001. He is currently in an Israeli prison. Sheik Muhammed Abu Tayr is from Jerusalem and is in his fifties. He garnered the second-most votes on Hamas' national candidates list. Tayr spent 25 years in prison, is a former member of Fatah, and generally keeps a lower profile than other Hamas leaders. Although people claim that Tayr supports Islamic law, he does not appear to want to impose Islamic law. Mohamed Deif is 40 years old and from Gaza. Since 2002, he has been the Gaza commander of the military wing of Hamas. At the present time his s exact whereabouts are unknown (Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), n.d.).

Hamas is both a terrorist organization and a mass social, political and religious movement. "The military branch is reportedly divided into three wings: an intelligence arm which gathers information about Palestinians suspected of collaboration, an arm which pursues those who have violated Islamic law and the Izzedine al-Qassam squads who are responsible for most of the terror attacks. The al-Qassam squads are comprised of a few dozen activists loosely organized into small, shadowy terror cells, at times operating independently of each other" (Hamas Fact Sheet, 2006). Hamas's military wing is believed to have more than one thousand active members along with thousands of supporters and sympathizers. Hamas' military and political leaders are based throughout the West Bank and Gaza while the organization maintains offices and representatives in Teheran, Damascus and Amman. This division of Hamas into military and social wings has led many people to assume that the social wing of Hamas is completely separate from its military wing. However, funds that are raised are indeed used to support both wings (Hamas Fact Sheet, 2006).

The entry of Hamas into Palestinian politics has been somewhat controversial among the people. Some argue that involvement with the Palestinian Authority will lead to comprising the party's goals and end up legitimizing of the Palestinian Authority's dealings with the State of Israel. It is for this fact that Hamas did not participate in the Palestinian elections in 1996 (Hamas Fact Sheet, 2006).

When recruiting, Hamas generally targets deeply religious young men. The recruits do not fit the usual psychological profile of suicidal people, and often hold paying jobs. What they all tend to have in common, is an intense hatred of Israel. After a bombing, Hamas gives the family of the suicide bomber between three thousand dollars and five thousand dollars. The recruits undergo intense religious indoctrination, attend lectures, and undertake long fasts. The week before… [END OF PREVIEW]

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